Tag Archives: bible

The bible on how media can affect us

And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away. -1 Samuel 16:23

There are several things to note about this passage.

The spirit from the lord was a tormenting one

Much ink has been spilled about this passage with regards to the nature of this spirit. It is called in various translations a tormenting spirit, an evil spirit, and a harmful spirit. Based on the context I’m more inclined to view this spirit as something God sent to convict Saul of his evil ways. However, regardless of how we interpret the spirit that was sent, it is important to note that the spirit was from God and was sent to make Saul uncomfortable.

The music of David’s harp counteracted the effect this spirit had

Whether the soothing was achieved through distraction or through Saul’s enjoyment of the music David played, a combination of the two, or some other factor, the fact remains that the music David played was able to produce a spiritual effect.

Implications for us

If music is able to sooth Saul’s torment which was caused by God. It is not unreasonable to think that music is able to induce a spiritual condition not caused by God. This means that people can certainly be led to the alter to confess their sins and repent wholly apart from the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit.


In Scripture we have an example of a communications medium, music, having a conscious and spiritual effect.

We should be careful, then, what do with communication mediums like music. If we are using them to sooth us, we should ask ourselves whether or not we ought to be soothed. If we are using it to rile ourselves up, we should ask whether or not we ought to be riled up.

To give an example, I have recently taught myself to appreciate classical music on my relatively short commute to and from the office. I did this primarily to help transition between two “worlds”, work and home. Music, in this case, helps create a space.

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. –William Congreve

Update: A recent paper indicates that music has intoxicating effects. I wonder if the SBC will pass a resolution against music now.


Where did the Bible come from?

A friend on Facebook recently asked me how the Bible came to be in it’s present form and how Irenaeus decided which books to throw out and which books to keep.

Here’s my response:

Thanks for the question. I always love a challenge, especially since its bee a while since I’ve studied Irenaeus or the formation of the NT canon.

The first thing I would point out is that Irenaeus didn’t come up with the canon. Even though it is a popular argument from critics that Irenaeus arbitrarily chose the 4 gospels “because there are 4 winds”, the truth is that the gospels were already in widespread circulation long before Irenaeus came on the scene.

Irenaeus wasn’t the only one to list the books that were considered canonical, there were several writers that listed the accepted canonical books of the NT.

In fact, two of the biblical authors, Paul and Peter, cite eachother’s books as Scripture. Which means that by the time Paul wrote to Timothy that all Scripture was God breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16), he already considered at least some of the letters that the other apostles had written to be included along with the OT.

The second thing I would point out is that the “missing gospels” like Judas, Thomas, etc. were never really missing nor were they unknown by the majority of Christendom. They were known and, in the case of Judas, they were soundly rejected at the very beginning by the early believers because they simply did not meet the criteria already established for authoritative writings. Some of those criteria were:

  • clear authorship
  • written within the author’s lifetime1
  • and it must be internally consistent
  • it must be consistent with both the OT as well as the already accepted texts of the NT

The earliest collections of writings passed around included the apocryphal and deuterocanonical writings. These were in the earliest editions of the King James bible and they still exist in Catholic and a few other denominations’ Bibles. However, these writings were never considered canon by the church until after Martin Luther in the 1500s challenged some of the practices of the church of Rome. Then the RCC canonized a few of the apocryphal writings to strengthen some of their practices such as praying to saints, the exalted view of Mary, etc.

Finally, I would note that the best place to begin if you are searching for the historical basis of Christianity is to examine the gospels as historical evidence in the same fashion as any other ancient source. From this historical approach it is worth asking one central question which is “Who was Jesus?”.

The reason this question is important is that the whole of the Christian faith rests on one historical event (1 Corinthians 15) and if that event is found to be false, then all of Christianity is rendered invalid. So if you are looking for a place to start, I would highly encourage you to start with that one question, keeping in mind that the gospels in the NT are separate documents which each present an eyewitness account of one man’s life, death, and resurrection.

After examining the Gospels in light of the question above, I am willing to wager that the answer as to why other books were not accepted as canonical will be readily apparent as their goal is not the same as the gospel writers to, as Luke puts it, “provide an orderly account” (Luke 1:3) of historical events.

Here are some excellent resources regarding the formation of the NT if you are interested:

Bonus: Here is the history of our English Bible.

Extra credit: Here is a 30 part lesson series to answer the question of “Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable?”

  1. by contrast the earliest known copy of the gospel of Judas is dated to the 2nd century, long after Judas’s death []

Women in the Bible and the Qur’an

When casting light on the low view of women put forth in the Koran, it is popular for opponents to say something along the lines of “Oh yeah? Well what about the low view of women in the Bible?!”. So in an attempt to dispel the myth that the Bible and the Koran are in any way similar as to their views on women, I want to present the

From Mary Jo Sharp’s site:

Debate Topic: “Women: The Qur’an and The Bible

Mary Jo Sharp is a former atheist from the Pacific Northwest who thought religion was for the weak-minded. She now holds a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University and is the first woman to become a Certified Apologetics Instructor through the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mary Jo has spoken to numerous groups, including audiences of over 1,000 people. Some of her speaking engagements include: The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma State and Youth Evangelism Conferences, the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Youth Evangelism Conference, The Southern Baptists of Texas Evangelism and Leadership Conferences, and the Evangelical Theological Society National Conference. Mary Jo administrates the website, Confident Christianity, and the Facebook group, Two Chix Apologetics, where she engages people from around the world in dialogue concerning the truth of Christianity.

Dr. Hussain. Born and raised in London, England, she acquired a BSc(HONS) in Biological Sciences at the University of Westminster, an MSc in Advanced Neuroscience at University College London, and lived in Australia for six years acquiring a PhD in Psychological Medicine (Neuroscience) at Monash University, Victoria. Recently settled with family in Toronto, Canada. Outside of her profession she has developed an interest over the years in Muslim-Christian Apologetics. Dr. Hussain has recently become a member of the Muslim Debate Initiative to become more involved in debate/dialogue focusing on women’s issues in the Bible vs the Quran.

Part one

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:


How are women portrayed in the Koran vs. the Bible?

[HT Answering Muslims]

Here are videos from an excellent debate between Mary Jo Sharp of Confident Christianity and Tabassum Hussain PhD. on the topic: “Women: The Bible and The Quran.”: